back to article Research suggests UK consumers find 'fibre' advertising misleading

Adverts using the word "fibre" to describe services deployed over copper lines are leaving UK consumers baffled, according to research commissioned by alternative network providers. The research, conducted by market research agency Opinion Leader using focus groups in London, Sheffield and Swansea, found that the majority of …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    OMG!!! Colour me shocked

    Broadband providers are misleading in their advertising ..... is it 2005 again?

    1. Naselus

      Re: OMG!!! Colour me shocked

      or 2008. Or 2010. Or 2013. Or...

    2. SImon Hobson Silver badge

      Re: OMG!!! Colour me shocked

      Indeed.

      Head over to the ASA's website and submit a complaint - reference the article and say you are adding your support to the complaint these companies are making. The more people that complain to them, the harder it is for them to ignore it.

      If you can reference actual instances of confusion with people you know then that ought to help.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Plain label packaging

    It works for cigarettes.

    ISPs will be allowed a white screen with their brand in Helvetica, the connection type, median speed in bits per second, and the cost per month without introductory rates.

    Ban contracts greater than 1 month.

    All adverts will carry a health warning: "The internet makes you stupid".

    1. Kimo

      Re: Plain label packaging

      The internet does not make people stupid. They already were. Now they are just stupid on a bigger stage.

  3. Drogers72

    The confusion comes from BT Openreach using the phone lines for the last network to premises connection.

    And Virgin Media using coaxial for the same last mile approach.

    Full fibre is coming but I don't think anyone is 100% ready for it yet for consumers, hence the 2% coverage so far.

    1. Commswonk Silver badge

      Full fibre is coming but I don't think anyone is 100% ready for it yet for consumers, hence the 2% coverage so far.

      Is that as in "ready to pay for it"? I recently received notification from BT that our contract was nearly up, and would I like to upgrade to 76 Mb/s? Now as it happened I didn't like anything of the sort; 52 Mb/s is quite fast enough for our purposes and I saw no reason to pay about £5 per month more for a speed I didn't need.

      What pissed me off was that while upgrading would have been a simple on - line process, remaining on the existing speed required a 'phone call involving the truly horrible voice recognition system; that said once I found a human being he was extremely helpful and it all went well.

      My main point is that as and when FTTH becomes more widely available just how many people are going to be willing to shell out what is almost certain to be a greatly increased monthly cost? Will it be enough to make it financially viable?

      1. Olivier2553 Silver badge

        FTTH

        And in the mean time, in Thailand, I was informed one day that my ISP would change to fiber and I had one month to make an appointment to proceed to the installation of the fiber.

        And zero cost involved.

    2. dajames Silver badge

      The confusion comes from BT Openreach using the phone lines for the last network to premises connection.

      The difference between FTTC (Fibre To The Cabinet) and FTTP (Fibre To The Premises) needs little or no explanation. Methinks the main failing here is that the retailers don't use those terms because they might confuse people ... and instead use other, more confusing, terms.

      1. Bucky 2

        Methinks the main failing here is that the retailers don't use those terms because they might confuse people....

        That's what they say. What they mean is, they don't understand a particular term. And rather than take 12 seconds to learn it, they prefer to try to Minitrue it out of existence.

    3. AndrueC Silver badge
      Meh

      The confusion was started by VM using the term 'fibre broadband'. BT referred them to the ASA and the ASA said 'fibre broadband' was okay because most of the connection was fibre. On that basis BT decided to join in since the same is true of FTTC.

      It always was a poor decision by the ASA. Even with an analogue modem 99% of the data connection runs over fibre (from the exchange to/from the ISP).

      The problem the ASA faces is that advertising is generally targeted at everyone. It's national. Or maybe regional. But the issues that impact quality of connection are customer specific. I can watch the same advert on TV as my neighbour. But my telephone line could be in a good state of repair whereas their junction box suffers water ingress. Same advert, different actual results.

      The only real solution to this conundrum is the same as it's always been: Customers should do some basic research before signing up. ISPs have been giving out speed estimates for years now. They are pretty well tailored to your line. All anyone has ever needed to do is understand what 'up to' means and from that it becomes obvious that a personal estimate is required.

      1. Trigonoceps occipitalis

        "The problem the ASA faces is that advertising is generally targeted at everyone. It's national. Or maybe regional."

        So what is Google's USP?

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Correct, its a con.

      My road has fibre, the green box is 0.2km away from the exchange, and 1.5 km from the building (though I do not know if the wires go the way I paced it out).

      At least one house is getting 22Mb on fibre, while I am getting 18Mb on ADSL2, at an approximate distance of 1.7km

      When and if they put in a green box less than 0.5km from me, then I will go fibre, as at the moment it is not economically sane!!

  4. Hans Neeson-Bumpsadese Silver badge

    The differences between the types of service are quite simple really...

    All-copper = data travels over copper line all the way to the premises. Service is provided by a large ISP who will make wild claims about unrealistic speeds and quality of service, while their "technical support" teams read from a script and their customer services treat you like dirt.

    Fibre/copper = data travels over fibre optic line for most of the way, and then down a copper line from a local cabinet and into the premises for the final leg of the journey. Service is provided by a large ISP who will make wild claims about unrealistic speeds and quality of service, while their "technical support" teams read from a script and their customer services treat you like dirt.

    All-fibre = data travels over fibre optic line all the way to the premises. Service is provided by a large ISP who will make wild claims about unrealistic speeds and quality of service, while their "technical support" teams read from a script and their customer services treat you like dirt.

    I think that ought to clear that up.

    1. Stumpy

      ... except that my all-fibre connection is actually faster than the claims made by my ISP, and the QoS has been nothing but 100% so far. Can't say anything about their tech support since I've not needed to speak to them except for a brief email exchange to sort out a static IP address....

    2. SMabille

      Service can be provided by smaller ISP on all type of connections.

      Some smaller ISPs even have proper technical support provided by technical people going the extra mile to kick and bite their wholesaler if/when needed. Not doing any ad but Andrews & Arnold a typical exemple of fully qualified "script free" support.

      1. TechnicalBen Silver badge

        They use to be able to kick Bt (openreach) into gear... at least it seems so. I think now they have redesigned the backhual from a phone call and intergrated computer management to a form labeled "notify of a fault". As a coupke of years ago the small isps went from being able to do everything to getting an "upgrade" to tge openreach system... that meant it was all in BTs side of the court.

    3. This post has been deleted by its author

  5. Gordon Pryra

    " leaving consumers baffled"

    Which is the point, no?

    1. Commswonk Silver badge

      Re: " leaving consumers baffled"

      Which is the point, no?

      Likely to be the most pertinent comment in this thread...

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Not sure what they're on about, I haven't seen a bran flakes ad for years. Lucky for me I'm still regular.

  7. Alistair Silver badge
    Windows

    @ Gordon P:

    Well -- this is the point of all bullshitadvertising.

    @AC "Bran Flakes" -> you might be regular but the advertisers could use some of those bran flakes.

    Bell Canada already got their ass kicked by the CRTC for this shit. Still haven't changed the name of the service, but they did get slapped for it.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    can anyone really get

    fibre to home without being on a "pilot" scheme?

    I am not sure I could have fibre to my home even if I had bottomless cash...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: can anyone really get

      I have fibre to the premises (FTTP) which I was excited to discover after I put down the rental deposit on my new build flat.

      I can get up to 300Mb down / 20 up but despite my best attempts to justify it to myself, instead plumped for the significantly cheaper 80Mb/20Mb via a well reputed ISP with a fixed IP address.

      I can confirm it is awesome.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: can anyone really get

        "I can get up to 300Mb down / 20 up but despite my best attempts to...."

        Gah, why have an upload throttled so much. This is why Virgin are so crap. A gazillion gb download, 14.4k upload.

      2. Carpet Deal 'em Bronze badge
        WTF?

        Re: can anyone really get

        Those are fiber speeds? I have cable internet and get about those speeds with a civilian splitter or two piping things up to my third floor apartment. And here I thought America was supposed to have slow internet.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: can anyone really get

      24 mb fibre to the house, 75 mb to my 4g phone. Welcome to Vietnam, that backwater developing country. Uk sits on its hands so much it's laughable

      1. Anonymous IV
        Unhappy

        Re: can anyone really get

        > 24 mb fibre to the house, 75 mb to my 4g phone

        Surely we can forget the fibre/copper dilemma until people are clear about the difference between numbers expressed in MB, Mb, mB* or mb...?

        * I don't think I've actually seen that 'unit', but included for consistency...

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: can anyone really get

        I get roughly the same on my 4G in the UK, in fact it was higher on my Winphone. That said, I can hit the mast with a stone from where I live.

        1. noddybollock
          Coat

          "I get roughly the same on my 4G in the UK."

          "...... That said, I can hit the mast with a stone from where I live."

          I'm sure you'd get more speed if you stopped throwing stones at the mast.

          .....I'll get me coat....

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: can anyone really get

      Yep - towns like York have been mostly fibre-d for last year or so - 1Gb up/down speeds to the house. It is not notably more expensive than cable broadband after you've paid for someone with a mini-digger to run a fibre from the main bundle under the pavement.

      The only downside is that you may have to sign up with TalkTalk...

      Many of the same streets also have Virgin Media cable offering 50Mb/200Mb .

  9. Kevin Johnston

    Simples

    Just require them to define their services based on the non-fibre bit which will be measured and rounded up in miles so:-

    Fibre into the house=Fibre

    Fibre to a cabinet just round the corner =1CopperMile/1CableMile

    Fibre to the exchange=20CopperMiles/20CableMiles

    Of course this is all pointless until OFCOM/ASA grow a set of balls

    1. Nano nano

      Re: Simples

      That's rather sexist ...

  10. Pangasinan Philippines

    FTTH here in Manila.

    Not bad for a third world country.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      FTTH here in Manila.

      Summary roadside execution for alleged drug possession in Manila too.

    2. Commswonk Silver badge

      @ Pangasinan Philipines FTTH here in Manila.

      Just out of curiosity what speed do you get and how much does it cost you per month?

      (Please specify currency used!)

  11. Nano nano

    "Broadband" ???

    Yes, it's also surprising to hear them describing this as a "broadband" product.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    R DId you need to research that with a commission?

    Why did you need to commission a research about this? I could have told you all how misleading they all are !

    Waste of research money, init ?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: R DId you need to research that with a commission?

      It's not a waste of research money.

      That was all commission money wasted. ;-)

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So tue

    Even my dog could have told how confused het gets about all the Fibre adverts. He is sat in front of the TV all day and knows a thing or two about false advertisng. Especially when that Yorkshire mans comes on TV, he can resist a bark.

    Maybe its the accent too, that my dog doesnt appreciate !

  14. Diodelogic

    Strange advertising here

    I was visited by a couple of ATT representatives who informed me that fiber was available for my home (ATT had been digging and burying fiber lines for about three months). I asked a few questions: Was it fiber all the way to the modem, and what were the upload/download speeds I could expect, and what was the cost. I was told that it was fiber to copper at the "box" on the outside of my house but I could expect gigabit speed down and about 750Mbs up. The cost would be the same as my current service.

    The actual installation was all fiber to the modem and gig down and gig up, which I verified using a wired connection to a computer. The installation was free, the connection is unlimited, and costs the same as my previous 45Mbs, including five static IP addresses. I'm not complaining.

  15. MIW

    I complained to the ASA about this last year. They replied that as fibre isn't widely available consumers are not being mislead. Suggested that over not too long a time this will become wrong. Not having it.

    Same mistake I've been making with Golden Nuggets all these years, apparently. Bought loads of packs - still no gold.

    1. Commswonk Silver badge
      Coat

      Same mistake I've been making with Golden Nuggets all these years, apparently. Bought loads of packs - still no gold.

      <pedant>

      "Golden" is an adjective, relating to the colour of whatever noun follows. "Gold" is a noun, albeit used as an adjective to describe the substance of the nuggets. You might not have found any "gold", but you will certainly have found "golden" things. They might even have been edible.

      </pedant>

      Coat please...

    2. Alan Brown Silver badge

      They made a similar response about ISPs not providing IPv6 being misleading about their "Internet" claims.

  16. Ken Moorhouse Silver badge

    Amazon will sort this mess out...

    Once they've completed their purchase of Whole Foods.

  17. Anonymous Noel Coward
    Coat

    Fauxbre Optics.

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